Thursday, January 04, 2007

Still loving Alias

I have been working my way through the Alias DVDs. I bought the fifth and final season when it came out but for some weird reason I wanted to ramp up to it by watching the previous four seasons. I started watching season one again sometime last May I think and have been going through each episode in order. Yeah, it’s a little obsessive but it sure is fun. (I have watched other things in between Alias episodes – after each disc I watch a disc of something else so it’s not quite as obsessive as it sounds.)

So, anyway, last week I finished Season Three, widely considered to be the worst of the five seasons. (In fact, early in season four Vaughn says “last year sucked.” Many fans consider that a shout out to them and a promise to make the fourth season better.) Let me say that while Season Three is clearly the weakest season I almost always enjoy things on DVD more than on broadcast television. For one thing, I can stop any time I want and the picture is really clear. I usually watch a bit just before bedtime on a portable DVD player and I can watch part of an episode if I’m tired or just don’t feel like committing to a whole episode so it’s pretty cool. And because of that I did really enjoy this season and I’m looking forward to diving into season four soon. (I have one more episode on disc three of Lost Season One to watch before I start Alias Season Four.)

Some thoughts about Alias Season Three:

  • I wonder if the producers had it in mind right from the start that Lauren was evil – I was looking for evidence that she was evil in the first episodes and it just isn’t there. It plays like they changed their minds.
  • The CIA is remarkably understaffed. They need agents so badly that they send Vaughn directly from the hospital to a field assignment.
  • Sloan can’t be trusted. Oh wait, maybe he can. Oh no he can’t, I should have seen it all along. Both the strength and the weakness of this show is that you never know if Sloan is for you or against you. Sometimes I’m not sure if the producers knew either.
  • What happened to Lauren’s mother? She just disappeared, never to be seen again.
  • Jack Bristow rocks.
  • I like the way they tried to mirror Jack and Irina with Vaughn and Lauren - unfortunately it didn't work out as well as they'd hoped.
  • Best lines of the season - both belong to Vaughn. After he finds out that Lauren is a traitor Jack tells him he has to pretend that nothing is wrong. Vaughn: "OK, what's plan B because that's not going to happen." Then, when Vaughn jumps out and clobbers Lauren in either the last or second to last episode he looks down and says "Hi, Honey."
  • Marshall playing the drums and singing about Carrie and sushi to Vaughn is not just a Season Three highlight but a series highlight.

So, there it is. All in all, not a bad way to spend 940 minutes, especially spread out over 3 months or so.

[EDIT: I've started Season Four and the first ten or fifteen minutes of the first episode are really outstanding - it really does seem like they decided they needed to get back on track and pulled out all the stops to make it clear to fans that they were back.]

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